As you all know by now, the Cesc transfer saga took an interesting turn yesterday, with Arsenal turning down an opening bid believed to be around the £30m mark. But it was not the rejection that made the headlines – that we would dismiss their initial offer was inevitable – but the manner and force with which it was delivered. In case you haven’t seen it, here is the statement in full:
“Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly-valued member of the team and part of our future plans.”
“We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment. However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain.”
“To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word.”
I have deliberately waited a day before commenting on this, because I was interested to see what reaction this would produce in the written press, and also on those blogs where all news is spun in a negative way. The reason for my interest was simple – this is such a comprehensive and clear statement that it is impossible to interpret it in any way other than intended.
The final paragraph is the real killer – by ‘expecting’ Barcelona to respect our position, we are denying them the opportunity to continue their very public tapping up without losing a great deal of face. That much is apparent when you look at how the press have reacted – instead of the usual varying interpretations, they have unanimously agreed that we are right to stand firm. The solitary contrary voice is one claiming that Cesc himself is unsettled by the action, a laughable concept given how Wenger will have made his position clear in their ‘amazing conversation’.
The situation is now clear – one false move from Barcelona and they become the bad guys in the eyes of neutrals, and as I’ve said before, once the media get their claws into you, the authorities follow. We hold all the cards.
Prior to this response, Barcelona had plenty of avenues open to them. But they can no longer attempt to unsettle Cesc in public, or credibly talk about his ‘Barcelona DNA’. The only way they can avoid utilising the correct and proper route of raising their bid is to hope for a transfer request from the player. They may be waiting a while.
This is by no means the end of the story, but after putting our foot down so comprehensively, we cannot bend unless the offer skyrockets. Barcelona are now aware of this, and crucially, our captain will respect that position. Every player has their price, but we have made it abundantly clear that we have no need to accept anything less than he is worth, perhaps more.
Our captain has shown the club due respect by handing us control. And now that we’ve got it, we’re making a stand. Be proud, be very very proud.